Servicemen honour combat sacrifices

War heroes from all sections of the armed forces gathered in Norwich yesterday to march through the city and raise awareness of the sacrifices made in combat.

War heroes from all sections of the armed forces gathered in Norwich yesterday to march through the city and raise awareness of the sacrifices made in combat.

In one of only five events of its kind in the country, the servicemen gathered outside the Forum before proceeding through the city centre to mark the upcoming Veterans' Day. They were joined by young cadets, as a sign of respect for the veterans.

Organiser, Capt Tam Steele, said: “The aim of the day is to raise awareness of the veterans, whatever their age or service experience. Their sacrifices have shaped our country today.”

The parade included military bands, ex-servicemen's associations and a detachment from the Light Dragoons, with a Scimitar armoured vehicle. Other historic second world war vehicles also took part.

Following the parade, veterans and members of the public were invited inside the Forum to view an exhibition of stands from all elements of the armed forces, the Veterans Agency and the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association.

Among the marchers was Lt Graham Rowland, from the Norfolk Royal Naval Association. He said: “It is a proud day for us to be able to gather together, decked out in full uniform and medals, and remember the sacrifices of thousands of servicemen across the country.

Most Read

“Events like this are becoming increasingly rare and it is important to keep the tradition alive. It is encouraging to see so many people, including youngsters, turning out for this parade.”

Marching alongside Mr Rowland was standard bearer David Lambert, president of the Dereham Royal Naval Association. The association celebrated its 50th anniversary last week and he said the parade provided an ideal opportunity to mark the occasion.

He said: “We held a small celebration in Dereham but we are happy to take part today and celebrate it on a larger scale.”

Later in the day a poetry competition was held in the nearby Assembly House. All of the associations involved used the opportunity to appeal for new members to come forward.

Veterans marched alongside young cadets as the selfless commitment of millions of British people over many decades was remembered in Swaffham yesterday.

Baroness Gillian Shephard - ex-government minister and former local MP - took the salute during the Veterans' Day/Falklands 25th anniversary event, which was organised by the Swaffham Royal Naval Association and the Swaffham branch of the Royal British Legion.

Since 1945, there has only been one year when a British serviceman or woman has not been killed on active service and more than 16,000 have lost their lives in that period.

Standard bearers and members from various local branches led the parade, which went past the Assembly Rooms and to the war memorial where a short open-air service was held, including wreath laying and playing of The Last Post.

A service followed at the town's parish church.

David Harman, secretary of the Swaffham Royal Naval Association, said the event was not taking away from Remembrance Sunday, but giving people the opportunity to remember those who had served in many conflicts.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter